book review: a factory of one

applying lean principles to banish waste and improve your personal performance

– Daniel Markovitz –

A-Factory-of-One-Daniel-MarkovitzA short book that can be consumed in one sitting, “a factory of one” is a pragmatic presentation of key principles of lean philosophy to our everyday life. Chapters are all equally structured, offering a “next steps” section with simple exercises applicable to daily activities, and a “notes” section with additional references.

Chapter 1: “what is your job” explores the concepts of value added and non value added activities, waste and gemba. It offers the value map and the time-tracking log as the key tools.

Chapter 2: “spotting value, spotting waste” centers on 5S, an organizational and visual management system used as the basis for spotting waste and visualize flow. This system is typical of manufacturing workspaces, but the book presents a useful translation to office and information-based environments.

Chapter 3: “flow” delves on the different types of waste, the 4D’s of work processing (do, delegate, designate, discard) and the application of the concept of flow in creative work.

Chapter 4: “visual management” continues where chapter 2 left off and introduces Kanban as a work management system.

Chapter 5: “from bad to good and from good to great” is about continuous improvement (kaizen). It explains standard work and the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle as its basis, and the 5-whys and A3 thinking as problem solving tools.

A factory of one is a must read for anyone wishing to learn the basic principles of Lean Thinking in a way that is concise, simple to understand and actionable.

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